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I was advised that I had better add a new post because leaving it with the last post was too depressing!
So, I’ll give it a go…
There is this feeling in the air. I don’t quite know how to explain it. If you’re an upland bird hunter, you know exactly what I am talking about. The dogs know it. They are wound. They want to go. Although their being so wound up could have something to do with three bitches in heat! That aside, maybe it’s just in my head with the realization that the Ruffed Grouse opener is just 36 days away. Yahoo–bring it on!
Maybe it is the gradual shortening of the days. Maybe it’s the recent change in weather here with highs in the 70s and lows in the upper 40s, it feels fantastic and I’ve been able to get out and explore and run dogs. And to me, there is nothing—really, seriously, nothing—better than walking the Northwoods trails with a young Llewellin Setter running about with boundless enthusiasm and curiosity, learning and eager to go. Ready to learn how to navigate the downed trees, the creeks, the tag alder thickets… It’s been very uplifting to my spirit to see these 5-month old pups work the cover, bump a few birds, then slam on a beautiful point in the grouse woods. It brings a smile to my face and a skip to my step. I can’t think of anything as enjoyable as this. Once I start, I am on fire. I quickly become obsessed and want to spend every minute running dogs. If only I didn’t have to make a living, eh? I’d be in the woods every minute with the dogs. ::sigh::
When we can’t be in the woods and I have to sit at the computer and work (when there is work), the pups are having a blast with pigeons.
I started free-flying the pigeons and the puppies enjoy fun time with a few wayward birds that would rather feed in the yard than return straight to the loft like they are supposed to. I would rather they not be sight-pointing at this stage, but between the grouse and the pigeons, they are quickly learning respect for the birds. I love seeing a pack of pups working together and getting to witness the natural instinct to back and honor one another.
No Shay and Luke Puppies
I had really looked forward to the possibility of Shay being pregnant with Luke’s puppies. I bred them much past the prime time for Shay’s cycle, but gave it a go anyway. I hadn’t planned on doing it at first because of the timing, but at the last minute changed my mind and Shay was still flagging and Luke very interested and there was a tie. I was convinced it took because of her behavior changes, but with one week to go until she is due, it isn’t looking very promising. She acts pregnant (doesn’t want to leave me, is grouchy with the other gals, eating habits are all over the map, etc.), but doesn’t look pregnant at all. 🙁 It’s time to face the reality that I was too late and there will never be another chance to repeat the pairing with Luke gone. Bummer.
Breeding Announcement of Tori by Count
But, the good news is that Tori was bred to Count (out of Shay by Luke and the breeding I was trying to repeat above), so for the first time ever, we will be looking forward to a litter to arrive in October! I’ve never wanted to have litters in the fall due to traveling and hunting and I didn’t ever want a gal to miss out on any time in the field, but now that I live here and won’t be traveling, and because it looks like I may finally be getting work about the time the season starts ( 🙁 ), and with the realization that Shay will not have a litter and because we are so far behind because Santana and Maddie also did not have a litter, I went ahead with the breeding. Tori will still get plenty of time in the field over the next several weeks and there will be lots of time left in the hunting season when the pups are old enough for her to hunt again. The timing for the pups to go to their new homes will be great (the first week of December) and I hope to be back in PA for about a month from maybe Thanksgiving until the New Year. I hope to head out to Kansas for some prairie hunting before returning to the UP. Here’s hoping anyway! A lot has to happen before I can pull off a trip home with all dogs and pups in tow (the biggest obstacle is a very large enclosed trailer that will house all of the dogs), but that is the plan!
That’s all for now…